Night Vision vs. Full Spectrum

You may have heard the term ‘full spectrum’ with regard to ghost hunting cameras and video much the last few years. But you’ve had your night vision camera by your side for many years and don’t see a need to switch up. It gets a good picture and that’s all that matters, right. Well, sort of.

What is the difference? Let’s talk about what night vision is…

Night vision, in basic terms, means it sees infrared light (or IR). If you have a camera from years ago with ‘night vision’ or ‘night shot’ it may have a small infrared light on the from of it that allows you to see a few feet in the dark. You may not even see the IR light on the front because it’s invisible to the naked eye. Night vision is cool. It allows you to see in total darkness. But what are you actually seeing? Answer: infrared. That’s it. Only infrared. Most off-the-shelf infrared cams filter out all light so that it can focus on the IR light. So that’s all your getting. It’s akin to putting blinders on a horse. Though it gives you a way to see IR int he dark, it removes the ability to see other light. You do not actually see (most) visible light or ultraviolet. Heck, some night vision cameras even use such a short band of IR that you’re only seeing just a small portion of IR. Yeah, it can get confusing. But, with this, we can suffice to say that IR is very limited in your ability to document light anomalies on an investigation.

Enter: Full Spectrum

Now on to full spectrum. In simple terms, full spectrum refers to the concept of being able to see more than we can see with our naked eye. This means being able to see visible light, infrared and ultraviolet. On one end of the spectrum is Infrared (or IR). On the other side we have Ultraviolet (UV). Cameras can be modified through adjusting or removing filters to see deeper into either end of the spectrum. This conversion, allowing us to see deeper into both IR and UV, is referred to as Full Spectrum.

Camcorder-DXG-FullSpectrum-View4There are different methodologies as to what constitutes good Full Spectrum. In some cases the filter is removed entirely thus allowing all light in. Other methods involve replacing the filter with something that will see IR and UV but filter out visible. I consider the latter (where visible light is blocked) as a multi-spectrum modification, not Full Spectrum. As the term suggests, while you are allowing light outside of visible in, it is not a full spectrum if you’re filling out any potential existing light. It’s like taking off a horse’s blinders so he can see better only to replace them with another pair that blinds differently. Hope that makes sense. I like analogies. While this method may be practical for daylight uses where bright visible light can overpower the IR and UV this is not an issue when conducting low light paranormal investigations in the dark. Since ghost hunting and paranormal investigating is typically done in the dark, you need all the light you can get.

Flexibility of Full Spectrum

Here’s my favorite parts of using a full spectrum camera: you can use any light. Since a night vision camera cuts out anything other than IR the only light source you can use with that type of camera is infrared. That’s it.

With full spectrum, it sees (just about) everything. So, if you want to be covert and use infrared only. Go for it. If you want to use a bright white light. Pop it on. You’ll blind all your fellow investigators and they may unfriend you on Facebook, but it would work. Use an ultraviolet light. It’ll work too. But if you want to take full advantage of a full spectrum cam, use a light that has a full range of infrared, ultraviolet and visible light. One that switches between IR only and full spectrum is perfect so you can use what you need as you need it without swapping out lights.

Sure, there is much more to the science of light and the spectrum in which it resides. But I hope this helps illustrate what the difference is between night vision and full spectrum and how full spectrum is a far better solution for your investigations.

 

Here are a few helpful videos.

 

 

 

 

 

Capturing the image of a ghost on film is one of the most difficult tasks for even the most experienced ghost hunter, and really good photos that are difficult for skeptics to dismiss are literally once in a lifetime events.

The first challenge to photographing a ghost, and it is a huge challenge, is that in order to catch an image of a ghost, you have to be in the presence of an apparition, and that is in and of itself a monumental challenge.  Visible apparitions are incredibly uncommon. Many serious ghost hunters work for years without ever seeing a confirmed apparition, because they are so random.

However, there are scores of people who’ve captured apparitions on film which are undeniable to most ghost hunters, because the figure on film is clearly human.   These photos are the most difficult for skeptics to criticize.

Unfortunately, for each real ghosting photograph there are fifty fakes, photos which are digitally changed or even staged.  During the actual spiritualist movement of the late 19th and early 20th century numerous fake pictures were created with the “wet glass plate” technique, because the pictures could often generate huge profits for the scammers.

Once this process was exposed every ghost picture was carefully examined and most were rejected as fakes, and today any real ghost photograph or video will generate an enormous skeptical response.

However, but there are a number of well known ghost photos which have been reviewed by experts and are regarded as real by most ghost hunters.  The following is a review of some of the most famous ghost photos.

1. Freddy Jackson

Freddy Jackson's Ghost

Taken in 1919 by Sir Victor Goddard

A standard group photo of a World War I squadron became infamous when an additional face appeared behind one from the airmen located on the top row, fourth from the left (see insert for a clearer view).

The airmen instantly recognized the face as belonging to Freddy Jackson, a mechanic who was killed by an airplane propeller two days before the photo was taken. Freddy’s funeral had taken place on that day, but apparently Freddy Jackson’s ghost decided to show up anyway.

2. The Fire Girl

Fire Girl

Taken November 19, 1995 by Tony O’Rahilly

As the Wem Town Hall in Shropshire, England burned to the ground, local residents took photos of the wreckage from across the street.

Tony O’Rahilly utilized a 200mm telephoto lens to snap this photo of a small girl framed in the doorway. None of the other onlookers or fire fighters working the scene remember seeing a little girl, and there would be no reason for her to be in the dangerous shell of the burnt out building.

Dr. Vernon Harrison later examined the photo and it’s negative and determined that it was genuine. Further investigation into the young girl’s identity uncovered records of a child named Jane Churm who passed away in 1677 in northern Shropshire after lighting fire to a thatched roof with a candle.

3. The Brown lady

Brown Lady

Taken in September 1936 by Captain Provand and Indre Shira

Believed to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townshend, this ghost has been haunting the oak staircase of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England since the 1700s.

Legend has it that Dorothy’s husband, Charles Townshend, believed his wife was having an affair and locked her in a tiny room of the great house until she eventually perished there.

When materialized, she is often seen wearing a brown, satin dress. One report tells of her having hollow sockets where her eyes should be.

4. Madonna of Bachelor’s Grove

Madonna in Bachelors Grove

Taken on August 10, 1991 by Mari Huff

Mari Huff of the “Ghost Research Society” took this photo during an investigation of of Bachelor’s Grove cemetery near Chicago.  The photo was snapped in an area where the group’s equipment had been acting strangely.

The small, abandoned cemetery was empty except for the paranormal investigation team, and yet when the film was developed this image of a  young woman materialized.

Bachelor’s Grove cemetery is considered to be one of  America’s most haunted places, and is known for hundreds of paranormal incidents (including full body apparitions).

5. The Back Seat Ghost

Back Seat Ghost

Taken in 1959 by Mabel Chinnery

During a visit to her mother’s grave site, Mabel Chinnery took this candid picture of her husband while he waited patiently in the car.

After Mabel developed the film she noticed the eerie figure in the back seat, just behind her husband’s right shoulder.  Mabel swore that the ghostly aperition was her mother.

An expert examined the photo for signs of fraud and was noted as saying, “I stake my reputation on the fact that the picture is genuine,” adding that the image was not a reflection nor a double exposure.

Shooting Ghost Videos

Individual paranormal videos can certainly be called into question, but thirty years after the introduction of the first home video cameras nearly all paranormal investigators agree that it is possible to capture images of ghosts on good video equipment. The keys to shooting a good paranormal video are proper planning, good video equipment, and a lot of persistence. Read the rest of this entry

TV and Movies seem to tell us what is haunted and what’s not…Are they right? Jason Sullivan of Midwest goes over his view on what makes a Haunt. This is a very good look at a popular subject.

Don’t be fooled by ghost hunting scams! In this video Jason shows various methods that unscrupulous Paranormal Investigators use to create fake ghost pictures.

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